High school to college is perhaps the biggest transition of your life. You are thrown into a whole new environment, with new people, new procedures - not to mention new roommates. My last final was about a week ago, so I've had some time to reflect on the year. Here are a few of the things I learned from my freshman year at Ohio State.
1. There's no need to "fit in"
This is totally different from high school (and possibly the greatest change). Because there are thousands of new people on campus, that means there are thousands of potential friends. I grew up in a smaller town where everyone knew everyone's business and there was not much room for individuality. College is built for individuality. There are millions of different opportunities to take advantage of and explore. There's no need to do something just because that's what everyone else is doing or that's what makes you cool. Newsflash: there is no popularity contest in college! If the friends you made in your first week or your roommates or the girl that sits next to you in class are not your cup of tea, there are so many other people out there. Who's to say one of them isn't in the same boat as you, looking for someone just like you?
2. Going to class is the least you could do
In high school, my biggest worry was acing tests and finishing homework before 2 am. Now, things are different. I do not have a rigid schedule of when I have to be at school and when I can do my homework; it's all on me. So, with that being said, the least I can do is go to class. It's tempting to skip class when all you're doing is listening to some boring lecture that will be posted online afterward anyways. However, in my experience, skipping class leads you down a spiral on laziness. There were so many winter mornings where the last thing I wanted to do was go to class. Yet, when I would occasionally skip, I noticed that my whole day was then screwed up and unproductive as a result. Going to class got me up and moving and much more likely to get other things done, too.
3. Once you go home, you will miss it more
I did not go home often during my freshman year; actually, I went home a total of 3 times. I was having so much fun at college, I was not even thinking about going home! I was not even feeling homesick. But, when I first went home in October, I could not wait to get home for winter break. It's not that I did not like school or home; I was having a battle between my old and new life. Going home definitely heightens that homesick feeling, so I tried to stay at school at much as possible, and that definitely helped me get over it.
4. Getting involved is extremely important
Especially on a huge campus like Ohio State's, getting involved is the way to make it feel smaller. You will find people with similar interests and likely make your best friends this way. By finding your community, you'll be able to take part in experiences and events that actually interest you and will add to your tool kit. In high school, I was heavily involved in theatre. Coming to college, I had no interest in continuing that passion as I thought it would be useless to my future. Yet, when auditions rolled around, I remembered just how important it was to me. I got a fresh, but familiar experience and made some of my greatest friends through the process. There are tons of different organizations and opportunities like that to take advantage of, so it would be stupid not to get involved.
5. Staying in is nice, but you will never forget late night memories made with friends
Of course, school comes first. But is an extra hour of sleep really going to impact you that much? Say yes when you're invited out! I know it's tempting to opt to stay in and catch up on some Netflix, but trust me, you will have way more fun if you get out of your room. Obviously, you should not go out every night. Make smart decisions, but do not limit yourself just because you have a test the next day. I made some of my best friends at school from late night talks and movie nights. Even if it's as simple as watching Netflix with someone else instead of alone, saying yes opens you up to so many more possibilities.